Ben Fountain

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Ben Fountain reads from his novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, 2012), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, at the 2012 National Book Award finalists reading in New York City. Fountain will join the Why We Write panel on January 9 at Poets & Writers Live in Austin, Texas.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates and Poetic Language

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"Within that economy of words, you choose words that have certain angles, that have certain edges, that effect people in a certain way." Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose memoir Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, speaks with Khalil Gibran Muhammad about what he learned as a poet and how those skills continue to influence his writing.

Sy Montgomery

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"She could taste with all of her skin, including her eyelids." Author and naturalist Sy Montgomery describes her first meeting with Athena, a giant Pacific octopus, at the New England Aquarium in Boston. This encounter spurred her to write The Soul of an Octopus (Atria Books, 2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Sally Mann

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"Whether I was born this way or my personality was formed by circumstance, I don't think anyone would call me an easy person to deal with..." Photographer Sally Mann reads from her memoir, Hold Still (Little, Brown, 2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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